What bedding can help children with sensory and spectrum difficulties sleep better?

Many parents of children with special needs spend restless nights hopping in and out of bed to settle their child back to sleep. This is often ahead of a demanding day, and very likely with other children in the family who may also be disturbed.

A great deal of research has been done to understand how a child’s behaviour and sensory issues can affect their sleep patterns, and how the lack of good quality sleep can, in turn, accentuate the behaviour which is disrupting the sleep cycle. In other words, this can become a vicious cycle.

We, as parents or carers, know children need to have a decent 10 or 11 hours sleep to embrace the challenges of the next day. Even if they are on holiday we often recognise irritable, grumpy behaviour as being linked to a late or a disrupted night. If your child has additional needs and is getting repeated interrupted sleep this can end up causing the whole family real problems.

Lauren Allen, Consultant Behavioural Analyst, continually identifies sleep aids to support children to achieve a more peaceful and comfortable sleep so they are alert during their therapy sessions. Obviously, a child with special needs is going to need to tackle their support therapies in the same way as a school day, so this is fundamental for the families and their support network.

Lauren recognised the lack of a steady sleep pattern for children on the autistic spectrum, or those with certain sensory issues, can become a real problem. As someone who provides ongoing support for special needs families Lauren said: “From my experience, children on the spectrum who struggle with sleep tend to have sensory regulation difficulties. In these cases, gentle massage and cuddles seem to calm the nervous system promoting sounder sleep. Some children love the feeling of being wrapped up and cocooned in a soft sleeping bag and whilst looking for suitable products for Rosy & Bo l found the Snuggle Sac; a useful and life enhancing product. An aspect l like the most, are the two sizes: a small toddler sleeping bag and a large size Snuggle Sac, which means the transition from a cot or toddler bed to an average size bed is less anxiety inducing and less of a change”.

Over the years Snuggle Sacs have been supplied to families with children on the autistic spectrum with a great deal of success. Certain children respond well to the tactile outer fabric, the soft cotton lining, the feeling of being secure and tucked in, and of having something portable which is familiar to them.  Some parents have purchased Snuggle Sacs in every size over the past 18 years as their growing child has responded so well to the familiar sleep environment. Reducing transitional anxiety levels is crucial if the family want to go away, or if their child is sleeping away from their normal bed.

As this is National Autism Awareness Week we would like to offer a family with an autistic child, the opportunity to try out a Snuggle Sac of their choice, and if they choose to, tell us how they got on. Email us at enquiries@snugglesac.com for details.

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